The restaurant owner couldn't help remarking that my friend and I clearly enjoyed each other's company. Laughter and life-giving energy emanated from our table near the front of this small authentic Mediterranean eatery.
It'd been well over a year, probably two, since Catherine and I hung out together. We're both educators; both love our endearingly jealous dog companions and landed perfect-for-us significant others who live to explore, travel, discuss and devour life. We're also both incredibly passionate about physical expression - she for decades, me for just over a year.
After we giggled, joked, laughed and marveled at the antics of the newest generation of Americans, I shared my new passion for the half-marathon. Not a social media consumer, she missed my Facebook live and photos from the races. I told her how surprised I was to discover a passion for physicality in middle-age. I certainly never imagined that an activity as mundane as walking would become an activity around which I schedule my days and weekends.
"It wasn't that there was anything missing before. It's just that I suddenly discovered something I love." For Catherine it was different. Before she walked into her first dance class, she knew there was something more to be had in life, but no idea what that might be. The moment she walked in and experienced the movement, freedom and fun of dance, she was hooked.
My discovery was more of a courting than love at first sight. I wanted to push my limits, to prove something, by walking a full marathon. On my way to proving my power, I fell in love. Thirteen-Point-One completes me.
A couple hours after our meal together, I heard a story about Ann Daniels, an arctic pioneer. She reached both the North and South Poles with all female teams. Phenomenal. Certainly more daring an adventure than walking thirteen miles in mild-to-warm weather on pavement. At some point in the interview she said that the first time she ventured across the ice for sport, she was hooked.
I don't share Daniel's penchant for high-stakes adventure, but I can relate to the joy of discovering one's passion in the realm of physicality. Like all true passions, it grows our souls. We push to master our minds and manage emotions as much as we train the body.
The body is like a vehicle the soul leases. Some like to keep their cars polished up with low mileage; some like to maximize the longevity of use. Daredevils like to see what the machinery can do under extreme conditions. And some are determined to establish a relationship with their vehicle not as thing to be used in service of our souls, but as an integrated dynamic organism in partnership with our soul.
See you on the path.